×

3D ‘Nutcracker’ enters crowded field

Freestyle looks to carve slice of holiday pie

3D pics face holiday screen crunch

Freestyle Releasing is prepping for a David vs. Goliath-style battle this holiday season — in 3D.

The indie distrib plans to launch Russian helmer Andrei Konchalovsky’s “Nutcracker in 3D” in six U.S. markets on Nov. 24, before expanding the following week. During its initial bow, Freestyle’s 3D fantasy will go head to head with Disney’s “Tangled,” then face a rush of other 3D titles in subsequent weeks.

For indie companies, facing higher-profile 3D studio fare is daunting, but doing so when screen capacity is stretched and even studio pics are struggling to get seen is a prospect that’s not for the faint of heart.

Lionsgate’s 3D toon “Alpha and Omega” stalled during the post-summer rush, squeezed by two 3D studio pics, “Resident Evil: Afterlife” and “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’hoole.” Lionsgate managed to secure just over 1,600 3D screens for “Alpha,” while Sony’s “Resident Evil” occupied some 2,200 and Warner’s “Legend” nearly 2,500.

Peter Graves, president and founder of Cinemarket Films, the company handling marketing for “Nutcracker,” admits that getting the word out about the film and securing 3D screens were some big hurdles.

“Our plan facing the realities of the marketplace was to take the film out on a very elevated platform approach,” Graves says, adding, “The ‘Nutcracker’ story has a very substantial following, and with its seasonality, you can develop a pretty good profile going into the market.”

As the only Christmas-themed film in the seasonal mix, Graves hopes “Nutcracker” will gain traction with holiday-minded moviegoers. “It always evolves into a battle for good screens,” he adds. “The larger studios have a large impact on the marketplace, and they can get a large chunk of exhibition.”

According to Mike Chico, a marketing exec at theater ad company Screenvision, average audience recall for 2D ads is 55%; while 3D recall is 74%, a potential boon to 3D indies looking to distinguish themselves from the pack.

“Clearly, 3D is still a plus in the marketing of a film, and particularly effective for the family market,” Graves says. “It’s a tremendous amount of hard work, but I do believe we have a lot of advantages going for us.”

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Neilsons Measurment Problems TV Digital

    AT&T's Ad-Tech Unit Xandr Buys Clypd To Help Place TV Commercials More Precisely

    Xandr, the AT&T ad-technology unit, has purchased a new company that helps advertisers use data to place commercials in front of the audiences most likely to want to watch them The AT&T division said Friday it had acquired clypd, a company that helps advertisers move forward in a growing desire by Madison Avenue to run [...]

  • AT&T Logo Building

    AT&T TV Now Price Hike Coming Next Month, Base Package to Cost $65

    AT&T is instituting a substantial price hike for its live TV streaming service AT&T TV Now: Customers who have subscribed to the service’s basic “Plus” package will see their bill go up by $15, to a total of $65 per month, starting next month. The telco has started to inform existing subscribers about the price [...]

  • Disney-Family-Movies

    Disney Family Movies SVOD Service Is Shutting Down Ahead of Disney Plus Debut

    After 11 years, Disney is pulling the plug on Disney Family Movies On Demand — with the service’s shutdown coming just days before the launch of the Mouse House’s Disney Plus. Disney Family Movies, which cost between $5-$10 per month, has been available via pay-TV providers in the U.S., including Comcast Xfinity, Charter Communications, Verizon [...]

  • Amazon Orders ‘All or Nothing: Tottenham

    Amazon Orders ‘All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur’ Soccer Doc Series

    Amazon has greenlit a new “All or Nothing” sports documentary series, this time following London-based soccer team Tottenham Hotspur. “All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur” will follow a year in the life of the team, charting the ongoing 2019-20 season. The squad made it to the final of the European Champions League last year, losing to [...]

  • Jeffrey Katzenberg

    Jeffrey Katzenberg's Quibi Picks T-Mobile as Wireless Launch Partner

    Quibi, the short-form mobile TV service founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg, announced a pact with T-Mobile to be the official telecommunications partner for its April 2020 launch. T-Mobile will be the exclusive wireless distributor when Quibi launches next spring. However, the arrangement doesn’t mean only T-Mobile customers will be able to subscribe to Quibi: Anyone will [...]

  • Steve Kornacki

    Steve Kornacki, Chris Matthews Stand at Center of New NBC News Podcasts

    After vowing to press ahead more directly into the world of podcasts, NBC News is readying the launch of three additional audio shows centered around politics. “Article II: Inside Impeachment” will help listeners understand the impeachment process. The program, new episodes of which are slated to debut Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays as people head for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content